Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Lots of reviews, including Sucker Punch!

Okay so (obviously) I haven't written in ages so I figured to get back into things I'd write about the recent books that I've read as well as the latest cinema films that I've seen! :) Oh and don't worry, there's no spoilers anywhere in this (other than saying things that happen in the first chapter/first 10 minutes etc!)



The Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien)

Okay so I know it's one of those books that you must read at least once in your life (at least that's what everyone says), but I'm afraid I'd never read The Hobbit OR the Lord of the Rings and to be honest I was kind of dreading them as they just didn't seem like the sort of books I'd really like.

I found The Hobbit straightforward enough to read and got through it pretty quickly and for the most part quite enjoyed it. There were a lot of bits though that I didn't really think were necessary (namely all the singing!), but yeh it was pretty good! I'm glad I've read it so at least I'll be ready for when the movie comes out!!! I still need to read the Lord of the Rings and I've got that to look forward to...



The Passage (Justin Cronin)

I'd never even heard of this book before, but Amazon kept throwing it at me (The cover is one of the sample images used in the Kindle's promtional material) so I decided that I should give it a go and see what it was about and that turns out to be a great idea!

This book is absolutely massive, but I was totally hooked by the end of the first chapter. The basic story is that the US government is trying to do some genetic experiments to create super soldiers, but (predictably) it gets out of control and the virus infects the majority of the United States. That's just the first PART of the book. It goes on and on and on and on and on and on... but it wasn't boring at all. The story kept changing, it stayed fresh and I was really sad when it finally ended, but not for long because I then discovered it's the first part of a planned trilogy... hurrah! :) So although it's one heck of a massive book (even in Kindle terms!), totally worth a read!



Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

I kept seeing trailers for the film and telling me that it was based on this "The Best Novel of the Decade" which I thought was one heck of a statement to make, but the short trailers didn't really tell me anything at all about the film or what it was even about! However, I decided that I should definitely try and read the book before watching the film so I hastily did and was very disappointed.

It's hard to really discuss it without giving anything away, but I think everyone knows (the movie trailer at least says this much!) that basically all the students at the school have preset lives and are there to become organ donors until their 3rd or 4th donation kills them. Sounds pretty macabre right? (and not too unlike an unrelated 2005 movie!)

The hardest part for me was that I just couldn't understand why they were all so "okay" with this. At no point does anyone really stand up and say "hey hang on a minute, I want my own life and I'm going to do anything I can to get it!". There are some subplots I haven't mentioned (which would likely be spoilers), but whilst the book was pretty easy reading (unlike Kate Mosse's Labyrinth for example!), I could just never really feel any attached to the characters because I couldn't understand them.

I know this should be in the film section at the bottom, but I've since watched the movie and MY GOD IT WAS DEPRESSING! Previously my award for "Most depressing movie I've ever seen" went to "Closer", but "Never Let Me Go", easily beats that... and not in a good way. It's pretty much the same as the book (and more enjoyable because it's over quicker!), but yeh... sorry I didn't like it. And if someone says that I wasn't the target audience that leads me onto the next book...



Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Okay so this book has a tag line of "One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia" and is quite obviously NOT aimed at me (a 30-something male) and the author confirms this in the first part of the sequel, "Committed", that it was written specifically for women, so why on earth would I want to read this book? Because Raj from Big Bang Theory liked it. Yes really that was my reason.

The book is a written memoir style about the events that happened in the authors life a few years ago which involved her spending 4 months in Italy (Eat), India (Pray) and Indonesia (Love), although it wasn't until I was halfway through "India" that I realised what the title of the book meant! At first I was like "erm this is weird", because I've only ever read "stories" and never anything that's actual factual (at least I assume "The Hobbit" isn't based on a true story...?), but for reasons explained right at the beginning of the book, it's split into 3 parts (the countries she visits) and of those is split into 36 sub-stories which all are linked together. I'm probably not explaining it very well, but I really liked knowning there was 36 sections per part as it just felt that I had a constant idea of how far through I was.

When the India/pray section started I thought to myself "oh no I'm going to hate this", because let's face it, there aren't many people LESS religious/spiritual than me (I have a Flying Spaghetti Monster emblem on the back of my car!), but very quickly I really got into it and I think overall, India was actually my favourite part of the whole book! Not sure what else to say really, but this book is TOTALLY worth reading, although given that it's such a popular book now, you've probably already read it right? :) I was next planning to read some books that my friends Colleen and Diane have written (very long overdue, I should have read these ages back - Sorry!), but I decided I wanted to read the sequel to ("Committed") straight away whilst it was all still fresh in my head and although I'm not really enjoying it as much, I'm still finding it very interesting. But back to EPL, I've got the Blu-ray movie now, but I just haven't got round to watching it yet!



Unknown

Onto the cinema films now, the trailer for this showed a man (Liam Neeson) being in a car crash and waking up to find someone else has replaced his life and even his wife seems to be in on it. I found the film totally gripping and when they did finally explain what the heck was going on... well, I would never have guessed that in a million years (yet it almost seems so obvious!). Very good film, total worth a look!



Limitless

The plot here is about a man (Bradley Cooper) taking a drug that allows him to access the full potential of his mind so he achieve things he wouldn't normally be able to, although of course, nothing is ever quite that straightforward! The story was really good and the effects (when he took the drug) were pretty trippy too! It's very hard to explain because it was more everything coming into clarity with vivid uses of colour rather than lots of CGI. I know I'm not explaining this very well, but since I'm going to also recommend you see this film, maybe you will and you'll understand what I mean! :)



Battle: Los Angeles

There wasn't really anything on at the cinema that we "wanted" to see this week so we decided to watch this, but we didn't really have very high expectations (or at least I didn't!). It's not exactly a new concept, aliens invade, humans fight back, the most obvious comparison would be "Independence Day" and... that's probably better. The effects in "Battle: LA" were pretty spectacular and there were things blowing up all over the place and blah blah blah. It was okay, definetly worth a watch at the cinema (as the TV release will be rubbish!), but I don't think I'd ever watch it again, the story just wasn't "that" gripping. Despite what this sounds like, I did enjoy it, but given the two movies above this and the one below... it's not really in the same league... :)



Sucker Punch

I can't remember the last time I was this excited about seeing a film (okay I can, Iron Man 2 in May 2010) and I've been taunted with the trailer for weeks and I was sure that this was going to be either the best movie ever made... or the worst... I mean it has robots, samurai's, zombies, a DRAGON, tons of things blowing up and a rather good looking cast! (oh c'mon, they are!)

Well it wasn't the best movie ever made, but I going to say it's one of the best films, I've ever seen (even though it has mainly negative reviews). When it first started off I was like "What the heck is going on?" then things started dropping into place and my god, the effects were AMAZING. Then about 2/3 of the way through the film, something changes (no spoilers!) and the whole story goes off in a different direction and I think that last 1/3 of the movie was the best part, because OMG the finale... I cannot say anything else, except - WOW!

I'm gutted they didn't shoot it in 3D as that would have been spectacular and there were originally adding post-production 3D, but quite rightly dropped it because of all the negative feedback about post-production 3D. I know a lot of people don't like 3D and/or don't see the point in it etc, but regardless of that, having seen films shot in 3D (Avatar, Saw 3D) and films that were post-production 3D (Clash of the Titans) there difference is noticeable! So much so that when the new Harry Potter comes out, even I'll be watching that in 2D! (post-production... BOO!)

But back to Sucker Punch... I know the reviews are generally bad and I fully expect that a lot of people reading this will say they didn't like it and that's okay... but I loved it :) So much so that I'm hoping to see it at least once more at the cinema, possibly even twice more!

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